It’s Brooklyn because it’s “funky”

Vancouver condo marketing is in “prorogue” mode. Developers are holding on to ad dollars like banks holding on to bailout money. But much to my reading pleasure, the Sun has yet to retire Westcoast Homes. In fact, the latest installment takes a look at Brooklyn Abbotsford, a condo with a most unlikely name that we laughed about last month.

A question about the Abbotsford condo’s association to New York City leads the Sun’s coverage. Those looking for proof of creative bankruptcy in condo marketing should look no further than the “strategy” for this brand:

Sales representative Donna Lou Gilbert says she (sic) the marketing team came up with the name Brooklyn primarily because the interior of the main lobby “with all the granite and tile reminded us of a New York hotel lobby.”

“I just love the name. It just sounds funky. I thought it was very contemporary,” she says.

[“An offer of ‘affordable elegance'”, The Vancouver Sun, December 13 2008]

Stuff like this makes me embarrassed about the marketing industry. When people say marketing is full of hacks and point to something like this, it’s hard to prove them wrong. And I want to prove them wrong, because lots of smart people work in marketing. Where’s the strategy here? How does this even make sense? Come on, my peers, you can do better than this.

30 Responses to “It’s Brooklyn because it’s “funky””

  1. condohype Says:

    BTW, to all you silly folks who nominated me for the Best of 604 Awards, and then got even more silly and voted for me, I am humbled by your kindness. Condohype won Runner-Up, Best Humour Blog.

    Special thanks to Rebecca Bollwitt (aka Miss 604), her sponsors and everyone involved for putting on a fantastic event. You’ll be excited to know I did attend. I dressed like Bob Rennie, meaning I was the guy in the suit with the Blackberry. A perfect disguise, I know.

  2. doug r Says:

    Maybe They’re trying to make Abbotsford sound closer to Vancouver-you know, more like Brooklyn, less like Yonkers.

  3. Happy Renter in North Van Says:

    They could have called it South Bronx and have every unit come with a complimentary Kevlar body armour 😉

  4. blueskies Says:

    maybe they should have called it “Baghdad”

    that has a nice ring to it!

    exotic and kinda funky too…

  5. jesse Says:

    Hey…. that’s not Brooklyn. There’s a mountain in the background, “Rumble in the Bronx” style.

  6. Carioca Canuck Says:

    Let me guess……..Soho, Tribeca, Midtown, Greenwich, and Chelsea were all taken ? Having personally been to Brooklyn, I wouldn’t want to live there……maybe they could have called it “Flatbush” for a more homely angle…..heh.

    In some ways it is appropriate though…..the once unthinkable has finally happened, as condo prices in NYC are on the downturn after years of increases…..

  7. Paul Says:

    Yes the creative is conceptually bankrupt, but:

    She’s not a marketer……she’s the sales rep.

    Those of us who have marketed with inside sales teams have experience with this disconnect. It’s akin to the Suit/Creative schism in the ad world.

    As you have noticed, one of the big problems with the RE biz is that there are alot of Realtors calling themselves marketers. One only needs to look at the Real Estate Weekly to see that Realtors are not.

  8. Bill Says:

    The marketing team came up with the concept. It says so right there in the article. This blog isn’t criticizing the salesperson.

  9. anon Says:

    If they liked funky they should have called in “Funklyn”.

  10. RJB Says:

    I wonder if there’s a condo development in Brooklyn called Vancouver? We are the best place on Earth, after all.

  11. islander Says:

    @RJB: +1

  12. Jackie Says:

    The only thing on par with the ridiculousness of a name like Brooklyn, Abbotsford, is the Concord Pacific development at 58 West Hastings called the Greenwich, which, in its quest to capture the funky bohemia of New York’s Greenwich Village, is really just an affront to everyone who has ever lived the decidedly non-funky reality of the Downtown Eastside.

  13. paul II Says:

    I’ll call myself Paul II given that I am not the Paul commenting above. Isn’t this whats often referred to as ” putting lipstick on a pig”? Maybe they should rename the local secondary school ” Crack Valley High”. How about a building called ” Indo Grow-Op Laundry Chute”?

  14. VancityAllie Says:

    The problem is most people who call themselves marketers don’t actually go through any true marketing process. Usually it’s just one or two people who sit and think of a cool name or concept and go with it.

    Usually there’s a process, such as focus groups, research, and analytics that go into it.

    I don’t think that calling any new building in Vancouver after various suburbs or structures in New York is very “creative” or effective.

  15. sidelines Says:

    Sorry Jackie,

    I think there’s a development that beats both – have you heard of ” Yaletown” in Kelowna? No joke. Nope. It’s oh so real!

    Feast your eyes on this: http://www.yaletownkelowna.com/

    Click on the various links once there – amazing! I was sure it was a joke at first… then had to pick my jaw up from the floor once I realised it was for real. Amazing.

  16. Happy Renter Says:

    Wow, sidelines. I am stunned.

  17. Happy Renter Says:

    For a real laugh, check out the building names in Yaletown Kelowna. Classic.

  18. other ted Says:

    yaletown Kelowna is very bad. First off its not even in town looks like its in the boonies behind dilworth MTN. They even describe the project as rurban. Rural and urban. It makes no sense. Its as bad as the London marketing in Calgary for a building a half hour away from downtown. If you are going with the urban anlge make sure the location is remotely urban.

  19. Panda Says:

    “yaletown kelowna”: In July they were giving tuition scholarship away as part of the purchase, but only until July 25. Then they included a Yaris, but only until Dec 7.

    This site makes me wince. “Do yourself a flava”. What is a “flava”? The web says “Flava is a Euphemism for flavor”. Do yourself a flavor? That makes a lot of sense. I guess they mean favour? This place is too cool for me.

  20. The Urban Dweller Says:

    Well at least they didn’t call it Manhattan, that would just be silly.

  21. The Urban Dweller Says:

    Oh and they should have called it The Vatican…has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

  22. aetakeo Says:

    The Vatican! HAH! And at the bottom of the market, we’d all have to end our ban on buying ridiculous real estate in order to purchase The Pope (from condo.info) his very own luxurious 500 sq.ft. Papal offices.
    Ayup.

    … Those Yaletown Kelowna towers are ridiculous. Plus, the floorplans say things like “Nourished”, instead of the more prosaic ‘kitchen’, which is simply too twee for print. They teach you twee in the Ivy League, Kelowna?

  23. anon Says:

    You want funky, buy a monkey. Less maintenance, and FAR less depreciation.

  24. Jackie Says:

    Re: Yaletown, Kelowna.

    Thanks, sidelines. My initial reaction: total flabbergastery.

  25. Happy Renter in North Van Says:

    Yaletown Kelowna… a pastiche of a bad imitation of NYC

  26. patriotz Says:

    the Concord Pacific development at 58 West Hastings called the Greenwich, which, in its quest to capture the funky bohemia of New York’s Greenwich Village

    Numberhead that I am, I would have thought it was inspired by Greenwich in London, which as we all know sits astride the Prime Meridian separating east and west longitudes, just as the DTES sits astride Carrall Street separating east and west street addresses.

  27. Brittanny Originals Says:

    ‘Bangladesh’ would be more appropriate.

  28. rob bennie Says:

    NO…. SLEEP….. TILL…….. Abbotsford!

  29. Charles Says:

    @ Panda said This site makes me wince. “Do yourself a flava”. What is a “flava”? The web says “Flava is a Euphemism for flavor”. Do yourself a flavor? That makes a lot of sense. I guess they mean favour? This place is too cool for me.
    Once upon a time you used to hear “do me a flavor” from the same folks who employed the equally cringe-inducing “anyhoo”, but I was under the impression that the phrase had gone out of use finally. How wrong I was.

  30. daddy dearest Says:

    “When people say marketing is full of hacks and point to something like this, it’s hard to prove them wrong. And I want to prove them wrong, because lots of smart people work in marketing. Where’s the strategy here? How does this even make sense? Come on, my peers, you can do better than this.”

    here’s the secret: THE SMART ONES GET THE FU*K OUT. and no, they really CAN’T do any better. i should know – up until recently i was one of them. freeeeeeeeeedom.

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